Tory infighting erupts as Nadine Dorries attacks 'duplicitous' Jeremy Hunt

6 June 2022, 12:46 | Updated: 6 June 2022, 12:58

Nadine Dorries took aim at Jeremy Hunt
Nadine Dorries took aim at Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A spat between two prominent Tories has broken out after Nadine Dorries publicly blasted Jeremy Hunt ahead of a confidence vote in Boris Johnson.

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Ms Dorries, the culture secretary, has been one of the Prime Minister’s most vocal and strident defenders and she said Mr Hunt had been "duplicitous" and would have "disastrously" handled the Covid pandemic.

She called out the former health secretary on Twitter after the latter, who previously lost to Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership election in 2019, said he wanted to vote for change.

Quote tweeting him, Ms Dorries said: "On afternoon of 23rd July 2020 when I was health minister you telephoned me to tell me that we had to handle the pandemic following the example set by the East/China. That people testing + should be removed from their homes and placed into isolation hotels for two weeks.

"You said yr wife's family had experience of this during SARS. I said that British people would never tolerate being removed from their homes and loved ones at which point you demanded I show you the evidence for that.

"Your handling of the pandemic would have been a disaster.

Ms Dorries is one of Boris Johnson's most ardent supporters
Ms Dorries is one of Boris Johnson's most ardent supporters. Picture: Alamy

"Your pandemic preparation during six years as health secretary was found wanting and inadequate. Your duplicity right now in destabilising the party and country to serve your own personal ambition, more so.

"You told others that PM and Gov would swiftly collapse on back of Brexit and you would swoop in.

"You told me as much in Victoria St after GE [general election]. If you had been leader you'd have handed the keys of No10 to Corbyn. You've been wrong about almost everything, you are wrong again now."

Read more: 'This is the beginning of the end for Boris' says Starmer ahead of confidence vote tonight

Mr Johnson is due to face a confidence vote among Tory MPs on Monday evening.

It comes after anger at his plummeting popularity in the face of Partygate and the cost of living crisis.

Mr Johnson's supporters have tried to insist he got "big calls" right, such as on the vaccine programme or supporting Ukraine.

Earlier, Mr Hunt said he had not wanted a vote during the Ukraine crisis but encouraged Tory colleagues to oust Mr Johnson as Tory leader and PM.

Read more: Boris battles for Downing St as Jeremy Hunt says he will vote against beleaguered PM

Jeremy Hunt has called for Boris Johnson to go
Jeremy Hunt has called for Boris Johnson to go. Picture: Alamy

"Having been trusted with power, Conservative MPs know in our hearts we are not giving the British people the leadership they deserve," he said.

"We are not offering the integrity, competence and vision necessary to unleash the enormous potential of our country.

"And because we are no longer trusted by the electorate, who know this too, we are set to lose the next general election.

"Anyone who believes our country is stronger, fairer and more prosperous when led by Conservatives should reflect that the consequence of not changing will be to hand the country to others who do not share those values.

"Today's decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change."